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Can you travel to Scotland? Covid-19 Update [November 2021]

can you travel to scotland update

Updated when anything changes. Last updated: 29 November 2021.

A question I am asked almost every day is when can you travel to Scotland?

I know that the latest information from official sources can be hard to digest and it often raises more questions- so I have done the hard work for you and trawled the internet to present you with the most up-to-date information in an easily digestible way.

Please note information can change daily, and the most up-to-date information will always be on the Scottish Government and NHS websites. I have provided links to the official sources below. Be sure to check your own government travel advisories for updated information too.

This article is intended for overseas visitors planning a trip to Scotland but there is information that locals will find useful. There is also helpful information here for those who need to get to Scotland for essential purposes [such as visiting a sick relative, moving home or for other personal reasons].

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If you spot any errors in this post, please leave a comment at the bottom of this article and I’ll amend it. If you have any questions, please ask these in the comments too and I can update this post.

Latest Information on travelling to Scotland

Last updated: 29 November 2021

Statistics and updates

  • 72.3% of the population in Scotland have been fully vaccinated; 68.9% of the UK population (Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland) are fully vaccinated.
  • On average there are currently 2,400 new Covid-19 cases per day in Scotland.
  • Mostly everything in Scotland is open
  • Face masks are still required when indoors in public spaces.
  • Social distancing isn’t required, however, you will find that many folk will do this anyway. My suggestion is to practise social distancing when indoors.
  • Nightclubs are open.
  • The Scottish Government has said that it’s possible Scotland may move back into the tiered system if cases get worse.
  • All contacts of suspected cases of Omicron now have to isolate for 10 days, whether they have been vaccinated or not.

Changes to the traffic light system

Scotland has changed the traffic light system. There are now two lists: green and red. Previously it was green, amber and red, but green and amber have now merged creating a simpler system.

Travel to Scotland if you’re fully vaccinated

If your country is on the green list and you are fully vaccinated, you may enter the UK. You need to fill out a Locator Passenger Form at least 48 hours before you travel to Scotland and take a Covid-19 PCR test within 2 days of arriving in the UK. This test will be delivered to your accommodation in Scotland.

I recommend keeping hard copies of all your information to make the process quicker and easier.

You need to book your PCR day two test before you leave your country as you will need proof of this when you arrive.

You will need to isolate in the place you’re staying, as soon as you arrive. You can only stop isolating if you receive a negative test result from your day 2 PCR test.

You can take your day 2 PCR test on or before day 2 after your arrival.

If the result of your day 2 PCR test is positive, you will need to isolate for a full 10 days from the date of your positive test result.

You MUST book and pay for your Passenger Locator Form and day two Covid-19 test BEFORE you fly to the UK.

Your test will arrive at your chosen accommodation by Royal Mail post. There are instructions on how to take your test and where to upload your result in your test inside the kit.

Travel to Scotland if you’re not vaccinated

If your country is on the green list and you are unvaccinated, you will need to have proof of a negative Covid-19 test within 36 hours of your departing flight. You also need to fill out a Locator Passenger Form and self-isolate for 10 days when you arrive in Scotland.

You will be required to pay £1,750 to quarantine in a room at one of six designated hotels. It’s £650 for an additional adult or a child over 12, and £325 for a child aged 5 to 12.

You will also need to take a Covid-19 PCR test on day two AND day eight when you arrive in Scotland. Both tests need to be negative in order for you to leave your self-isolation.

Your tests will arrive at your accommodation and details on how to take the test will be inside your kit.

Travel to Scotland if your country is on the red list

If you have been in or travelled through a country or territory on the red list in the 10 days before you arrive in the UK, you may not enter the UK unless you are a British or Irish National or have residence rights in the UK.

If you are a British/Irish National or have residence in the UK, you will need to self-isolate for 10 days and take a PCR test on day two and eight while in self-isolation. You will also need to complete the Passenger Locater Form, and provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 26 hours of your flight to the UK.

SCOTLAND RESOURCES

On a budget? Grab my Scotland Bucket List Planner

Organising a big trip? Grab my Ultimate Scotland Planner

Want to tick off all the must-sees? Grab my Must-See Scotland Essential Travel Planners

Have a question about travelling around Scotland? Join my Facebook groups Scotland Travel Tips and Scotland Travel Tips for Locals

Love podcasts? Listen to my Scotland podcast Life in Scotland

The 5-tier system

Scotland has 5 Protection Levels [or tiers] to help control the virus. Each area in Scotland is allocated a different tier depending on the prevalence of the virus across Scotland. You can see what tier each area in Scotland is in here.

Here’s a brief overview of each tier:

Level 4 – Lockdown

Level 4 is essentially a lockdown order to stay at home. For stay at home guidance, click here.

  • Accommodation is closed for tourism and only open for essential travel
  • Restaurants are takeaway only
  • No in-home socialising
  • No use of public transport except for essential travel
  • Visitor attractions closed
  • Parks and gardens open for exercise

Level 3 – Very High

  • Travel throughout Scotland is allowed as long as the region you are visiting is Level 3 or lower
  • Accommodation open
  • Pubs and restaurants allowed to open until 8pm indoors [no alcohol] and 10pm outdoors [alcohol permitted]
  • 4 people from up to 2 households can meet indoors at a restaurant/cafe
  • 6 people max can meet outdoors from 3 households
  • Visitor attractions including museums, galleries and libraries open with safety measures in place
  • Parks and gardens open for exercise
  • Gyms can open
  • Non-essential shopping can open
  • Funerals can take place with up to 50 people [no alcohol]

Level 2 – High

  • Accommodation open
  • Pubs and restaurants open but must close at 10pm outdoors and 10.30pm indoors [alcohol permitted]
  • 4 people from up to 2 households can meet indoors at home
  • Visitor attractions including museums, galleries and libraries open with safety measures in place
  • Parks and gardens open for exercise
  • Non-essential shopping open
  • Cinemas, amusement arcades and bingo halls can open
  • Outdoor contact sport and indoor exercise classes can restart

Level 1 – Medium

  • Accommodation open
  • Pubs and restaurants open but must close at 11pm
  • 6 people from up to 3 households can meet indoors at a restaurant/cafe and at home
  • 8 people max can meet outdoors from 3 households
  • Visitor attractions/shopping open with safety measures in place
  • Parks and gardens open for exercise
  • Indoor non-contact sport can take place

Level 0 – Nearly Normal [All of Scotland is currently below this level]

  • Restrictions on group numbers inside and outside (max 15 people to meet outside at someone’s home max 8 people indoors]
  • Weddings and funerals can have up to 200 people attend
  • Office staff are to still work from home if possible
  • Nightclubs to remain closed
  • You must still wear a face mask when indoor

Tips

  • When making NEW bookings for accommodation and tours, be sure to check their cancellation policy. Booking.com has a flexible 24-hour cancellation policy, but be sure to double-check each property before making a booking.
  • If you have existing bookings, check your cancellation policies for each activity, write down the deadlines and stick them on your fridge so you don’t forget to cancel or extend and lose your money.
  • Be sure to book restaurants and activities ahead of your visit. A lot of businesses will not accept walk-ins. If you have a pay a deposit, make sure you know their refund policy.
  • To see a graph on the current number of Covid-19 in Scotland, just Google ”Covid 19 in Scotland” and a graph will come up with the daily

Websites for up-to-date information

Scottish Government website: The first place to check is the Coronavirus in Scotland page.

NHS [National Health Service]: For up to date information on what to do if you are in Scotland and have symptoms or need to book a test, visit the NHS website.

News: For the latest news in Scotland, I recommend following the BBC.

Visit Scotland: Visit Scotland also has a page with helpful information and updates on the Covid-19 situation in Scotland.

How you can experience Scotland from home

  • Read my blog! There are tons of free articles on this website about Scotland that will help you with planning your dream trip, or to simply keep Scotland in you mind. This really helps me as a small business struggling to get through Covid!
  • Read these books about Scotland. One of the best forms of escapism is through a book! I made a list of my favourite books about Scotland- these should keep you going for a while.
  • Re-watch Outlander. I know I am!
  • Test your knowledge with my Scotland Quiz! You can even use it to host your own Zoom quiz night with your pals.
  • Start planning your trip early so when travel opens up, you’re ready to book! My Scotland travel planners will help you plan your perfect trip.

Alice

Sunday 21st of February 2021

Wow ! What are great rundown in current facts, and your opinions. Very very appreciated ! For as harsh as it is, at least Scotland is dealing with it ! If we could only do that here in the US. I’ve been strictly isolating myself, and I’m so ready to travel...anywhere. If the world could be as dedicated to stomping out Covid as Scotland /the UK, it would all be over that much more quickly. Thank you again for the post, addresses, and suggestions.

Yvette Webster

Sunday 21st of February 2021

You're very welcome :) I hope it's stomped out soon too